Piazza Nuvona with its exquisite fountains is one of the most notable and popular tourist attractions in Rome. Like many ancient sites here, Piazza Nuvona hides a secret. It is not the first attraction to be placed on the site. Beneath Piazza Nuvona can be found the Stadio di Domiziano (the Stadium of Domitian). Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD), began construction of the Stadium, the first one built in masonry in the history of Rome, around 86 AD. Unlike the Colloseum, which was designed for gladiatorial combat, this Stadium was constructed primarily for athletic competitions (e.g. Foot races, discus and javelin throws, etc.) and poetry. It was designed to hold approximately 30 thousand spectators (compared to the 60 thousand at the Colloseum). It was eventually abandoned I the 4th century.
Remnants of the stairways that led from the corridors up to the Stadium.
Model of what the Stadio di Domiziano would have looked like. Amazingly, the present-day Piazza Nuvona maintains the same outline as the Stadium.
More ruins of the Stadium located beneath Piazza Nuvona
Parts of the stairway leading to the Stadium, and the lower corridor archway